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February 16, 1988

PLESSEY IN-CAR COMPUTERS TO STAR IN UK ROAD CONDITIONS ALERT SYSTEM TRIAL

By CBR Staff Writer

The UK Department of Transport is to go ahead with plans to introduce Autoguide, its revolutionary electronic route guidance system. The system, which is being funded by the Department and private industry, is an in-vehicle computer system fed by a network of infra-red roadside beacons which relay information on road conditions to the driver. The computers, manufactured by Plessey Electronics, will cost UKP200 to UKP300 apiece. A driver will program the starting point and destination into the in vehicle unit. Information, gathered and constantly updated by the police, will be relayed to the beacons from a central computer. This information will then be interpreted by the in vehicle computer, and instructions given to the driver, either by speech message or a printed read-out. An on-street demonstration project featuring 20 vehicles fitted with the in-vehicle navigation units is planned in about six weeks time. The location of the roadside beacons is expected to be Westminster and out on a spur to Heathrow. Researchers at the Department of Transport research laboratory in Berkshire believe that the journey time for cars fitted with the system will be reduced by up to 10%. If the trials prove successful and a national system is approved, it will cost an estimated UKP1,600m to install.

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